Hair Drug Tests: Can You Cheat?

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17 December 2020 >>

Hair Drug Tests: Can You Cheat?

Hair Drug Tests: Can You Cheat?

The rising popularity of hair drug testing has seen a rise in the amount of “how to cheat your hair drug test” videos and online suggestions. Some of the methods include shaving all of the hair off, detox shampoos, and home remedies including substances like tar shampoo, laundry detergent, detox salts, and vinegar. Some people even dye their hair after using these remedies to help mask the changes made to their hair. But is it actually possible to cheat and pass a hair drug test?

Over the years employment drug hair testing has increased in popularity for several reasons: there is a window of history (or window of detection) of approximately 90 days (making it the drug test with the longest time frame), the results are processed by an outside lab and then signed by a Medical Review Officer (MRO), and the results are sustainable in a court of law because the results are hard to alter. Because the results are hard to alter and easily collected, it is very easy to identify drug users within a certain time frame. For these reasons, these tests are typically requested as court ordered tests.

Many Misconceptions about Passing Hair Drug Tests

Despite the advantages to the test, hair drug testing is quite invasive. The most accurate results come from removing a hair sample, big enough to fill 2 straws, taken directly from the head. To ensure that there are no visible bald patches, hair will be cut in small amounts from various places around the crown. Also, longer hair means that the test can see farther back into history. For example, if the sample is 1.5 inches in length, the test can see approximately 90 days into the past.

While the above cheating suggestions seem quite promising, it is exceptionally unlikely, if not impossible, that a person can alter the results to make their test have a negative outcome. A hair drug test does not test the outer part of the hair. Rather, the part of the hair that is tested is inside of the exterior casing. The reason? Hair grows by the nutrients carried to it by blood flow. As the hair grows, the metabolites from the blood are encased in that particular part of the hair. All drugs pass through the body via the veins and arteries; therefore, when someone uses drugs, the blood carries around the metabolites from the particular drug through the body, and those metabolites aid and become part of the hair growth. These metabolites cannot be removed once embedded.

This means that any shampoos, or detox kits that are used on the hair are ineffective as they only treat the outside of the hair. It has been found that these detox kits can lower the quantity of the metabolites slightly. However, most people who abuse drugs do so frequently and repetitively, meaning they will have numerous metabolites. So, while detox levels can lower the number, it will most likely still come out as positive for drugs. Shaving of the head and hair will delay the test, but the hiring company will be sent the result and will most likely cause suspicion in the hiring of the employee.

Despite the fact that it is more expensive than other types of drug tests, such as urine and saliva, it is very accurate and is upheld in court.

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